In Entry Thirty Five- A Million Tiny Losses I talk about all of the small losses that I experience daily. I am sure that many of you can also relate to these losses. But there is one big loss that I failed to mention…me.
There are a million tiny losses experienced by all special needs parents and one of those losses is your sense of who you are. I am understanding this now.
In my most recent entry, “My Alias” I discuss how I use my “old me” as my alias. This is who I like to be with my acquaintances. I like to be her at school pick up. That person is worried about preparing school lunches and helping with school projects. She worries about how she will have time to juggle work, errands and household chores. She worries when her child falls and scrapes his/her knee.
That is who I used to be. That is who I like to pretend I still am because it is easier for her to fit in. One of my losses is that I can’t relate to her anymore. I can no longer relate to what it feels like to sweat the small stuff. I never realized how many generic conversations revolve around things that we are worried or concerned about. You don’t realize this until you learn that you no longer share the same concerns as other people. That you don’t feel genuine contributing to a conversation because you just can’t relate anymore. It is amazing how isolating that can feel.
I still have two Instagram accounts. I have my personal one and my @arealmomstory account. My alias loves to peruse my personal account to see what everyone did over the weekend, to look for a good recipe for dinner, or to get inspired by some social media influencer. But truthfully, I only look for a short time because even on mainstream social media I find it a struggle to fit in. I just can’t relate.
I wouldn’t say that me feeling “different” started when Oscar started having issues. I have mentioned before that I am a childhood cancer survivor. I think I have always been empathetic. I have always understood what it feels like to be different. Going to school as a 10 year old girl with a bald head will change you. I didn’t give enough weight to that until I had Oscar.
I will always be protective of Oscar’s differences because I have been there. I know what it feels like. I know what it feels like to have people stare at you but pretend that they aren’t. That is what I worry about now. I worry about protecting my kids. Both of them.
So the old me is gone. Maybe she left when I was 10? Maybe I have been pretending to “fit in” since then? I don’t know… Over the last 2 years I have allowed for this journey of personal discovery to happen. Me learning who I am now has been a difficult journey filled with grief, denial, anger, depression and I think now I am working on acceptance. I am not sure how long that will take.
It is amazing how from the outside the “old me” and the “new me” look strikingly similar, despite the essence of her being totally different.